EU Commissioner: EU May Sanction Italy Over Budget if Deal Not Reached

08 Novembre, 2018, 14:42 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Markit IHS

In the case of non-compliance of the European Commission Brussels can apply for a Rome in the court, and in the future - to enter against Italy financial sanctions.

Eurozone finance ministers stood their ground against the Italian government tonight, as it urged policymakers in Rome to revise its draft budget to align with European rules. The Commission has rejected the Italian budget. "Italy's budget is substantially deviating from the requirements so it would also require substantial adjustment", he said. There will be "neither compromise nor conflict" with the Commission, he added.

"This is a dialogue between the Commission and Italy".

His coalition partner, the Five Star movement's Luigi Di Maio, urged other European Union partners to embrace his government's policies, which he said are the only ones that can inject job-creating growth into Europe.

The standoff with Brussels has alarmed the financial markets and threatened a wave of ratings agency downgrades that could cripple Italy's teetering banks and sink the economy into recession.

Italian Finance Minister Giovanni Tria, right, talks to French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire during a meeting of Eurogroup Finance Ministers at the European Council headquarters in Brussels, Monday, Nov. 5, 2018.

But there are fears as well that coming down too hard on Italy could galvanise anti-EU populists across Europe ahead of European elections next May.

"If you share a currency with many other countries, we all have responsibilities to each other and those responsibilities are now articulated in the rules that the European Commission oversees", Mr Donohoe told reporters on entering.

"This fight is going to be with us for a while", a eurozone diplomat told AFP.

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"On Nov. 19 we'll hold an extraordinary Eurogroup here in Brussels and this meeting will be mostly dedicated to euro-area reform", Eurogroup President Mario Centeno tells reporters after the meeting. Yet the country's populist government is so far refusing to yield to pressure.

But this time, officials said it could instead act on its own economic forecasts, due on November 8, which are expected to show a far less optimistic scenario than the 1.5 percent GDP growth in 2019 predicted by the Italian government.

Italy's draft budget, which envisages an increase in the structural deficit by 0.8 percent of GDP next year rather than the 0.6 percent of GDP decrease required by EU rules, was rejected by the European Commission last month.

"We expect a new and revised DBP by the 13th of November and that is a necessity". "Never an Italy to its knees", he launched.

The coalition's 2019 budget is based on the country experiencing an annual growth of 1.5 percent - a figure considered optimistic by the International Monetary Fund, which has forecast only one percent.

The statement also stressed the importance of sufficient debt reduction, a clear message to Italy, which has the highest debt ratio in the eurozone after Greece.

Many officials say that, should Rome's borrowing costs on the market - already elevated on concern over the 2019 budget - rise to unsustainable levels, there would be no political will in the euro zone now to bail the country out.

The situation is reminiscent of the Greek debt crisis, except with Italy the size of a bailout would be so large as to make it virtually impossible.

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